The Other Side of the Desk: Changing Perspectives on Syria

Screenshot from

The view is usually different from the other side of the desk. (Screen shot from

Don’t you hate it when you have to take back and eat the words and the claims you were once so sure of? I’ve recently been forced to acknowledge that, with a small shift in perspective, a certain former badditude of mine was totally inappropriate in a given situation.

Here’s the current sitch: I am now working at the university that I attended, and as a student, I used to complain to anyone who would listen that nothing ever got done here, that it was impossible to find someone to help, and that it was equally as impossible get a straight answer from anyone. And now I find myself on the other end of this experience, realizing that being a secretary here involves an enormous effort to prioritize and complete all the tasks required in a day. So where I once thought people were being lazy, I now know that they are just really, really, really busy — all day, everyday. Sitting behind the desk teaches me that I don’t know a thing about many issues that I claim to know everything about.

At times, this seems to happen in far less innocuous ways and appears to be happening now with U.S. relations in the Middle East and particularly in Syria. Because I’ve just admitted that most of what I think I know about, I really don’t, I won’t even try to comment on the situation in Syria, other than to note one thing.

Apparently, there has been a major change in perspective on the part of a U.S. president who once so vehemently opposed military action against another dictator who used chemical weapons against his own people, Saddam Hussein. Perhaps President Obama is learning now, along with my small and incontrovertibly less important self, that it’s a lot easier to have a strong opinion when you’ve only stood on one side of the desk. A small shift in perspective, a change in experience, and a tiny piece of evidence learned in a meeting with top military advisors has the potential to change one’s most foundational beliefs. For better or worse, this seems to be what is happening with Syria. I’m glad I am not the one making the decision; I’m glad I am not sitting on that side of the desk. I pray for wisdom for those who are.


lc-e1358128566135Laura Creel (@Little_Utopia) is the managing editor of Little Utopia.

Previously from Laura Creel:
Billy Ray Cyrus: Not as Creepy as We Initially Thought
♦ Bees! Bees! Wonderful Bees!
♦ I Wanted That Pretzel Bacon Cheeseburger, but It’s Better This Way
♦ Thigh Gap, or Wasting Time on a Pipedream
♦ Blessed are the Rich: “Preachers of L.A.”

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